Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Andrea Doering (Advice for Novelists, Part 51)

Today we hear once again from an editor's perspective in our Advice for Novelists series. I don't know about you, but I sit up and take notice when editors take the time to give advice. And Andrea Doering graciously responded today to the question:

"If you could say one thing to aspiring novelists, what would you say?"

Novelists are told by many people, "write what you know." Somehow that translates to "write about your life." Which may stop you from moving forward, because what we live is usually not as interesting to us as the lives of others, or what we read.

But this is good advice, to write what you know. But take it down to the minutiae in your novel. What is that little trick your sister always did with her wrist when she was worried? What is your mother's signature goodbye to people she loves? And maybe you know, as a parent, that fear for your children far outweighs any fear for yourself. These are the things that enrich the novel, and enrich your reader's experience--and they are yours to tell.

--Andrea Doering, Senior Acquisitions Editor, Revell Books, an imprint of Baker Publishing Group

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